2012 Honda Odyssey Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
With a car-like ride and handling that’s responsive for a minivan, reviewers agree that that 2012 Honda Odyssey is the best-driving minivan on the market. While a few point out that the Toyota Sienna has more power in its V6, others don’t notice a difference on the road, thanks to the Honda’s refined transmission. While saying that no minivan is truly invigorating to drive, reviewers note that, of the bunch, the Odyssey is the most enjoyable.
- "Performance and handling may rank pretty far down on the list of mommymobile priorities, but Honda strove to improve these areas, too. Acceleration feels considerably brisker with the six-speed, and stopping distances are improved by upsizing the rotors an inch all around." -- Motor Trend
- "Feeling somewhat like a slightly overweight Accord Sedan, the 2012 Honda Odyssey minivan is a well-rounded vehicle that is easy to live with on both urban and rural roads." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "If we were to pick a single attribute of the Odyssey that most impressed us, we would have to go with how little the Odyssey drove like a traditional minivan of yesteryear. A quick spin won’t make you forget that there’s a huge people-and-junk-hauling cabin behind you, but the Odyssey’s agility is remarkable." -- Left Lane News
Acceleration and Power
The 2012 Honda Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 248 horsepower. LX, EX and EX-L trims have a five-speed automatic transmission, while Touring models have a six-speed automatic. Reviewers say the powertrain works well, delivering adequate power for all situations, but a few complain that there’s no manual shift mode with either transmission.
Models with the six-speed automatic transmission get an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. With the five-speed automatic, those numbers drop to 18/27 city/highway.
- "Touring models are a bit more responsive thanks to their six-speed automatic transmission that executes shifts quickly and smoothly. Even though the Odyssey is outpowered by the Toyota Sienna's 266-hp V6, this new powertrain feels just as lively, with either minivan able to confidently merge onto the highway or pass slower moving traffic." -- Edmunds
- "Acceleration is adequate in all situations, with a good jump from a stop and decent passing power. Both transmissions upshift smoothly, but the 5-speed doesn't always downshift promptly in passing maneuvers; the 6-speed is better in this regard. Cylinder deactivation, which is used to save fuel, is virtually seamless." -- Consumer Guide
- "The six-speed transmission is smooth, but even the five-speed does the job superbly. I recommend against making a trim-level decision based on the transmissions; there simply isn't a big enough improvement when moving up to the six-speed. If you opt for the Touring, it should be because of all its added gizmos and features." -- Cars.com
- "A slight press on the throttle sends the Odyssey off the line with confidence. Around town, there is more than enough torque to move around smartly and weave between the tourists who obviously aren't under any type of schedule. We spent about 15 minutes on the surface streets, never bumping much over 50 mph. The transmission shifts smoothly. … The power from the engine is exactly what you would expect from a six-cylinder eight-passenger minivan." -- Autoblog
Handling and Braking
Reviewers say the 2012 Honda Odyssey is the best-handling minivan on the market. Of course, that’s not saying much. Still, critics can’t find fault with how the Odyssey feels on the road. They say it’s as smooth and stable as a sedan, and while it doesn’t invite spirited maneuvers, it can still hold its own on the twisties.
- "The ride is as comfortable and poised as before, with body roll remaining minimal for a minivan. A new variable-displacement power-steering pump reduces effort slightly, but a bit of steering feel has been lost along with it; the average minivan buyer likely won’t mind, and the Odyssey remains the driver’s choice in the segment." -- Car and Driver
- "Sporty for a minivan. Odyssey exhibits only moderate body lean in fast turns. The electrically assisted power steering feels very light at all speeds but maintains good response. Response is a bit sharper with the Touring models' 18-inch tires." -- Consumer Guide
- "What’s more, Honda has now developed the ride and handling of its front-drive minivan to such a high level that I speculate how far back in history we have to go to find sports cars that didn’t handle this well. Probably not all that far." -- Road and Track
- "To our surprise (and delight) the Honda's Odyssey minivan handled everything we threw at it, although not always with the poise of a Porsche. Our Odyssey minivan did well in emergency maneuvering, performing multiple rapid stops and remaining on course through some crazy fast turns. If your doubts about owning a minivan center around thoughts of poor handling and acceleration, the 2012 Odyssey will put your mind at ease." -- Kelley Blue Book